It was 2011 and I was 19 when I moved to Stockholm. I was so excited! I was studying political science and national economy which felt like the right path.
Obviously, reflecting back on that in comparison to what I do now that choice seems absolutely ridiculous, haha. But I enjoyed it! I think, I can’t really remember (I can however remember that as pictured above I had red hair in 2011??).
My uncle passed away in the spring of 2012 which was an absolute devastation, of course. There are a lot of details surrounding that story that I won’t go in to but that I, and my doctors, believe triggered something in me. From that point until autumn 2013 I only remember a few things, a lot of which I only remember because I’ve been told they happened, or I’ve had photos or videos to kickstart my memory. I moved back to my hometown in late summer 2012. It’s all a blur of panic attacks, too much sleep, apathy and bad decisions. A year and a half long psychosis that eventually ended with a spontaneous decision to move to London. I had no idea what I was going to do there so I signed up for a bartender course including accommodation at a hostel and was on my way just a couple of weeks later.
It was very hard for my parents to come to the terms with the fact that I basically just up and left, but in hindsight this is the best decision I ever made, and ultimately the one that saved me from sinking and made me who I am today. Long story short the bartender course and the stay at the hostel was four weeks and it was the best time! Afterwards, I ended up getting a job at the hostel after I got pickpocketed and lost my phone and a lot of money. I then stayed living and working at that hostel for a total of almost a year and a half. That was the happiest I’d ever been in my life. I lived with five other people in a tiny six bed dorm, cleaned toilets and partied. We had so many amazing guest and staff come through the hostel over that time, many of whom I’m still friends with, and I remember all of it. Well, maybe not the blurry party nights but that doesn’t have anything to do with depression, haha.
Eventually I moved back to Sweden but only for a couple of months before moving back to London again. When I came back to Sweden in autumn 2015 I started realising that I wasn’t actually doing so good. I got my own apartment and it was one day, on the floor, that I realised “one is not supposed to feel this way”. My apartment had looked like, pardon my french, complete ass for maybe a week or two and this particular day I decided it needed to be cleaned. And it was when I sat on my bathroom floor, meticulously cleaning my radiator with a cotton bud that I thought to myself “girl, you need help”.
I called the hospital but it took a few months before they got back to me. It then took almost a year from there until I was finally diagnosed in February 2017. I was put on lamotrigine and I’ve been taking them every day (okay, sometimes I forget them haha) since and I have no idea how I even functioned without them.
If you’ve gotten this far, thank you for reading! There are panic attacks, manic episodes, depressive episodes, psychosis, tears and hopelessness hiding between the lines of what I’ve shared. I would have to write a whole book if I was going to share it all, haha.